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Opening Tonight: Catfish Perez's "Menagerie of Hope"

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When you hear the words "breast cancer fundraiser," you probably think of ranks of people running marathons with pink ribbons pinned to their sweatshirts. Now, Catfish Perez has figured out another way of taking the disease head on: through art. Tonight, the Houston-based artist will present his latest show, "Menagerie of Hope" at the Next Door Bar and Gallery as a gift to his wife, whose mother, Kathy Burroughs, died from breast cancer.

Filled with compassion, he put pencil to paper to sketch pink animals in order to create a whimsical show. But his motivation was not as light. Each year, he noticed products promoting awareness of the disease and company fundraisers to help those affected. He watched a documentary that showed how much of the proceeds from fundraising end up going to the campaigns themselves, meaning little money actually went to the cause. Upset by the companies' malpractice and inspired by his wife, he decided to take action, create his own fundraiser and donate all the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

"If we really think hard, [breast cancer] affects everybody," he says.

Perez recalled a collection he'd once done featuring pink elephants that had sold well. Now, he's drawn a new series of different animals that incorporate the pink ribbon in the animals' body shape. The ribbon acts as the tail of a rattlesnake in one piece and curls around an elephant's trunk in another. Also hidden within the details of each piece are other ties to the cause. His favorite work, a magnificent peacock that sits atop the ribbon, exaggerates the natural heart shape at the top of each feather.

Though the show carries a somber message, Perez has created a childlike display that could hang anywhere, even a child's room. There's an opening reception at 7 tonight (June 9) with music by Ryan Scroggins and food from The Hickory Pit. The Next Door Bar is at 2020 Waugh Dr. Another presentation is on Friday at 2 p.m. Regular daily viewings through June. FREE

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